Professional Jeweler Archive: Golden Opportunities

April 2003


Golden Opportunities

Innovative yet classic styles stay in play, especially in hoops, pendants and bold cuffs

If you follow the catwalks of New York City and the European fashion capitals, you’ve seen big geometric shapes and unique chain links everywhere. If you prefer to prowl the red carpets of Hollywood premieres and awards shows, you’ve noticed bold chandelier earrings are ubiquitous. But when it comes to your everyday gold jewelry customer, you know simple designs clean up the competition.

“Earrings are the strongest category, led by tubular hoops, classic buttons and drop styles,” says Brian Fleming, vice president of marketing at Carla Corp., East Providence, RI. But earrings are only one part of a woman’s jewelry wardrobe, he says, and classics don’t have to be boring. Geometric designs – kept in check – offer clean, sharp lines. A focus on heritage can lead to interest in ethnic designs, often in high-karat gold. Regardless of style, gold jewelry consumers want to spend wisely and are choosing good craftsmanship.


Mixing gemstones with gold can spark your sales. “They add a flash of color that complements gold jewelry,” says Duvall O’Steen, marketing coordinator/jewelry for the World Gold Council in New York City. Gems holding sway right now are pink tourmaline, purple amethyst and anything green or blue.

For something different, colorless moonstone and rutilated quartz can be as interesting as richly pigmented gems when set in rich yellow gold jewelry.


High polish is always in style, but your not-so-basic customer might be drawn to a matte finish that shows off a design’s lines. “Depletion gilding is another interesting finish,” says Britt Anderson, designer/owner of Britt Anderson Designs Inc., Effingham, IL. “The technique involves sandblasting and then oxidizing gold with a torch using a reduced flame. Once blackened, the jewelry is pickled in a warm, mild acid, which leaves a brighter surface color.”

Some other finishes to consider – especially with the rich color of higher karat gold – are antiqued or brushed.

By Category

Consider this advice from WGC and gold jewelry manufacturers as you prepare to stock up for the rest of the year:

Earrings: Hoop, drop, chandelier and long dangles offer the movement many consumers desire.

Necklaces: Simple pendants can feel classic and contemporary at the same time. Long links, versatile lariats, layered chain and pendants are popular. So are spiritual and fashion cross pendants and charms. Creating a stir are fun and funky chain links.

Rings: For women wanting to make big statements, bold cocktail rings – with or without gems – are making inroads again, and stackable rings remain on the fashion scene. Look for diamond-cut, sandblasted and faux diamond finishes.

Bracelets: Classic cuffs and stackable bangles are adorning wrists.

Brooches: Nature motifs – especially floral – are popular. Nautical and animal themes offer something for almost everyone. And geometric shapes satisfy urges from classic to contemporary.


Gold jewelry designers and manufacturers see some clear trends looming. “Open and geometric links will wrap the neck, and large fashion crosses will be a big trend,” says Shelly Light, executive vice president of sales and merchandising at Michael Anthony, Mount Vernon, NY.

Creativity will be important, adds Anderson, especially if the economy doesn’t stifle it. Stocking classic jewelry with contemporary twists may offer safe harbor. “With war threats and financial markets the way they are,” says Fleming, “people will stay with basic designs. They won’t take a lot of risks with jewelry.”

– by Lorraine M. O’Donnell, A.J.P.

Photo by Robert Weldon.
18k gold lariat with circles and squares is part of the Geo Tile collection.

Robert Lee Morris; New York City; (212) 554-9158.

Leaf-inspired 18k suite with diamond accents is $1,727-$9,319 suggested retail.

Vendorafa Lombardi/
ViewPoint Showrooms, New York City; (212) 696-1881, fax (212) 213-5494.

18k gold rings glisten with diamonds. Suggested retail, $1,600-$2,200.

Werner Haring/Jewelfish Inc., Pittsburgh, PA; (412) 281-6612, fax (412) 281-6624.

18k green gold necklace from the Paisley collection features 0.40 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $7,200.

Mdviani Designs, Ridgefield, NJ; (201) 840-5410, fax (201) 840-5412.

18k rose gold rings.

Vhernier/KWM Exclusives Inc., New York City; (212) 570-6065, fax (212) 570-6720,

14k white and yellow gold beaded cuff bracelet.

Leo Frank & Sons, Troy, MI; (800) 934-3900.

14k gold necklaces.

Leslie’s, Greenwich, CT; (800) 221-2628 or (203) 869-7071, fax (800) 962-4246 or (203) 869-8696.

14k white and yellow gold earrings are from the Casandra collection.

Carla Corp., East Providence, RI; (800) 556-7092, fax (401) 438-0455.

14k gold cross pendant.

Michael Anthony, Mount Vernon, NY; (914) 699-0000, fax (914) 699-2335.

18k gold Alexandra cuff bracelet is $1,600 suggested retail.

Britt Anderson Designs Inc., Effingham, IL; (217) 347-3083.

18k lion brooch features a diamond-set tail.

Mattioli/KWM Exclusives Inc., New York City; (212) 570-6065, fax (212) 570-6720,

18k gold bracelet features a sapphire-accented clasp. Suggested retail, $569.

Silber’s Inc., Houston, TX; (800) SILBERS or (713) 784-6226, fax (888) SILBERS or (713) 784-0396.

14k jewelry suite has diamond accents.

Stahl Design, Providence, RI; (888) 655-6736,

18k gold bracelet with 0.54 carat of G-H/VS1-SI1 diamonds is $3,645 suggested retail.

Henderson Design Ltd., Charlotte, NC; (800) 566-2300, fax (704) 333-4644.

18k yellow gold star cuff bracelet with 1.37 carats of diamonds is $6,810 suggested retail.

Susan Michel Ltd., Flushing, NY; (718) 591-3722, fax (718) 380-3835.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications